New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Security Over New York City's Water System

New York City's water system provides drinking water to more than 8 million City residents and about one million people living outside the City. About 99 percent of the water is supplied from a network of reservoirs and controlled lakes in a 1,972 square-mile watershed that extends 125 miles north and west of the City. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) protects the water supply system by restricting access to water supplies and supply system components (such as tunnels and aqueducts), and by monitoring and patrolling restricted areas. DEP and other public water system operators in the United States were required by the Public Health and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act of 2002 to assess their vulnerability to terrorist attacks and other hostile actions and develop an emergency response plan describing how they would respond to such actions. We audited the actions taken by DEP in identifying and addressing security-related vulnerabilities in New York Cityís water system. We also audited the actions taken by DEP in developing an emergency response plan that addresses the findings of its vulnerability assessment.

We found that DEP performed the required vulnerability assessment, developed an emergency response plan, and made progress in addressing the vulnerabilities that were identified in the vulnerability assessment. We also identified opportunities for improvement in certain of DEPís practices. Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, our detailed findings and recommendations are not included in our public report, but were provided to DEP officials during the course of our audit.

For a complete copy of Report 2004-N-9 click here.